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Renowned Philippine Human Rights Leader Speaking in Seattle for International Human Rights Day

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For Immediate Release
December 2, 2011

Media Contact: Michael Viola
Philippine-United States Solidarity Organization (PUSO)

Seattle, WA – Marie Hilao-Enriquez, chairperson of the Philippines-based human rights coalition Karapatan will be in Seattle on December 10 to commemorate International Human Rights Day. Marie will share her own personal story as a survivor of state-sponsored crackdown on human rights, as well as provide an update of the current situation of human rights abuses in the Philippines. Marie will be speaking at the University of Washington on December 9 and the Filipino Community Center (FCC) in South Seattle on December 10.

Marie is a leading advocate for human rights in the Philippines. When Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law in 1972, his regime specifically targeted youth activists for their role in questioning the unjust policies of the U.S.-supported Philippine dictator. Marie was a political prisoner and was able to escape. However, authorities captured, tortured, and killed her sister, Liliosa. Her sister’s unjust death steered Marie in the ongoing struggle for human rights and to seek justice for the families and victims of state-sponsored torture and extrajudicial killings. As chairperson of Karapatan (which translates to “justice” in the Filipino language), Marie helps document cases of human rights violations perpetrated by the armed forces and paramilitary units, assists the victims and their relatives in seeking justice, and exposes the present government for the more than 1,000 victims of extra-judicial killings.

“It is a huge honor to welcome such a celebrated human rights crusader to Seattle. She has a remarkable story of organizing against the Marcos dictatorship and a sharp analysis of the current human rights situation in the Philippines.” says Joaquin Uy from the Philippine-U.S. Solidarity Organization (PUSO), the community-based group organizing Marie’s talks. “Her presentation is especially timely in offering a global reference point for the Occupy events taking place in New York, Seattle, and in other U.S. cities.”

Marie will be speaking about Karapatan’s annual human rights report under the current Philippine presidency and sharing her unique perspective on the Occupy movements sweeping the nation and the world. Her talk is meant to commemorate International Human Rights Day. On December 10, 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which has become a universal standard for defending and promoting human rights. Every year on December 10, Human Rights Day marks the adoption of the Universal Declaration. Governments and nonprofit organizations all over the world celebrate this day’s declaration that “All human beings are born with equal and inalienable rights and fundamental freedoms.”###

Friday, December 9, 2011 at 4pm
University of Washington Campus at the Communications Building, Room 226 (CMU 226) by the Padelford Parking Garage
Admission: Free
Extras: Cultural performance and light snacks provided

Saturday, December 10, 2011 at 6:30pm
Filipino Community Center of Seattle, 5740 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way S, Seattle, WA 98118
Admission: Sliding scale donation $5-$12. No one turned away for lack of funds.

All proceeds support political prisoners and the struggle for human rights in the Philippines.

PUSO (Philippine-U.S. Solidarity Organization) translates as “heart” in Filipino is a grassroots organization based in Seattle. We organize to improve the human rights situation and to support lasting peace in the Philippines. To this end, PUSO builds solidarity between the people of the Philippines and the U.S.